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Angela’s Avgolemono Soup

Looong ago I dated a Greek Cypriot and learned to make several Greek dishes: dolmathes, baklava, pastitsio, moussaka and avgolemono. I’d forgotten just how freaking TASTY lemon and egg soup is! Here’s my version, made with leftover chicken. Easy and really delicious!

Angela’s Avgolemono Soup

1/2 leftover roasted chicken, shredded (OR a small rotisserie, or 4 thighs, whatever you have)
Olive Oil
1 shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup rice, any kind
1 Tbl dry dill (or fresh if you’ve got it)
5 C chicken stock
3 small or 2 large lemons, zested (and juiced into separate mixing bowl)
2 eggs
2 Tbl fresh chopped parsley for finishing and garnish

In a good sized soup pot, put in a couple of turns of olive oil over med low heat. Sweat the shallot and garlic until soft. Add in chicken, dill, lemon zest and rice, stir and cook for a couple of minutes. Turn up the heat to Hi and add the chicken stock. While that comes to a boil, add eggs to the lemon juice and whisk until eggs are completely mixed.

Reduce soup to a simmer to allow rice to cook – about 15 minutes depending on your type of rice. Basmati took 15 minutes. When rice is done, kill the heat. Move pot to counter with the lemon/egg mixture next to it. Add in one spoonful of hot soup liquid (try to avoid rice) at a time, whisking in between to temper the eggs. Add at least 3/4 cup of hot soup to eggs, then carefully pour the eggs back into the soup pot. Stir thoroughly. There should be enough residual heat to cook eggs through, if not, put on a LOW flame to warm through. Toss in the parsley, keeping some aside for garnish. Serve.

Reading List 2017

I’m going to attempt to list every book I read this year. This includes cookbooks and graphic novels. I’ll give a rundown of each book as I finish it. No description means it’s in progress.

The Blind Assassin, Margaret Atwood – SLOW. OMG so slow. It’s very literary, you know, florid descriptions and language. But SO HARD to get through. And very long.

The Peach Keeper, Sarah Addison Allen – Short book, sort of a mystery/ghost story. Pretty good.

China Dolls, Lisa See – The 2nd book by her I’ve read. She’s kind of an Amy Tan knockoff (one of Tan’s proteges). I like her mix of history and fiction. I learned a lot about WWII treatment of Japanese from this book. The other book I read from her last year was Dreams of Joy, which was set in the late 50s when the New Society (Communism) took over China. This book had some VERY disturbing things in it about how the people of China suffered during this time. But again, historical fiction is a great way to learn history.

The Burgess Boys, Elizabeth Strout – This is a family history kind of story. It’s depressing and slow. Not very good.

The Language of Flowers, Vanessa Diffenbaugh – I didn’t think I was going to like this one, but I did. It weaves the story of an orphan girl’s life with the Victorian tradition of using flowers to convey messages. Every flower (and other plants) has a meaning and this book uses these meanings to tell the story. Clever and overall a good read.

Blackwood Farm, Anne Rice – This 2002 novel is more of the Vampire series but with a ghost story twist. It’s long and full of her usual verbose style. It’s written in first person as a story told to the reader, a style she’s used before. It’s long and just OK. Lestat makes an appearance, so there’s THAT.

The Asian Grandmothers Cookbook, Patricia Tanumihardja – Got this for Xmess, but read it in January. Awesome recipes of every kind of Asian comfort food. Tons of soups and noodle dishes.

Les Diners de Gala, Salvador Dalí – An art book that happens to have recipes. It’s a collection of the recipes that Dalí’s wife Gala used for various dinner parties. Some of the recipes are very weird. But I didn’t get it for the recipes, it’s a beautifully done large coffee table book. I love it!

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, Joshilyn Jackson – Eh, it was just OK. Kinda predictable, but it’s an ok beach read. I did like its Southern hillbilly roots and the insight into just how dysfunctional Southerners can be.
Carthage, Joyce Carol Oates – A twisted tale of family drama. I identified with one of the main characters, Cressida, in that we are both misunderstood by our families and we share a strong disdain for our families. Her escape and return resonated with me.

Hyperbole and a Half (hardback collection), Allie Brosh. A collection of her online blog/comics with commentary. LOL hilarious at times. A good read.

Haul from Half Price Books

Peony in Love, Lisa See
Wildflower, Drew Barrymore – Meh. It’s a collection of short essays from Drew’s life. She is a lunatic. Poor thing. Pisceans are always weird, but she is OUT THERE. She had no discernible upbringing, so I guess it’s the outcome of that. And her father was nuts, too. It’s a good summer read.

Magical Thinking, Augusten Burroughs
Dreaming in Chinese, Deborah Fallows
What Comes Next and How to Like It, Abigail Thomas – This is a delightful little memoir that is written a lot like blog posts. I identify with Abby and her take on the world is much like mine.

Waiter Rant, The Waiter (from the website) – This is taken from a blog, but the writing is very good. The author’s insights into restaurant culture is spot on. Good read.

Thai & South-East Asian Cooking (cookbook, various authors) – I’ve already perused this one, but not read it through. Nicely illustrated and lots of soups, which are my current obsession.

Haul from Ollies!

Moar Books!

Hungry Heart, Jennifer Weiner
All Fall Down, Jennifer Weiner
Woman of the Dead, Bernard Aichner
The Japanese Lover, Isabel Allende

New Workout Progress

Or: how I made myself crippled AGAIN. Oy! [UPDATE: This workout cured the soreness! So for me, it appears that doing a lighter workout when sore is the key to getting through it! Yay!]

So I started doing the Kathy Smith weight training (Ageless with Kathy Smith: Staying Strong) on Tuesday and did both the 15 min arms and 15 min legs after a mile or so on the treadmill. OOF. I’ve been doing the arms one for a while, so that was not too horrible, but the leg one kicked my ass. Ha! Leg kicked ass! As with most of Kathy’s stuff, the actual exercises seem pretty simple when you do them, then the next day you are DEAD. OMG. It was not as bad as The Tabernacle Incident™, but OW OW OW.

I rested for a couple of days and just walked on Thursday, which was fine. Today I did 1.5 miles on the treadmill (jogged a little and didn’t die!!) then I did a modified version of both the arms and legs workouts. Hopefully I did not do too much, but I’m sure I’ll be sore again. ARGH.

I don’t know how bodybuilders put up with being sore all the time. ARE they sore all the time?? I just know that I MUST get my strength back. And I’ve still got at least 20# more to lose, dammit. I’m stalled at around 190 and it’s really pissing me off. I think that I’m going to have to work to lose any more weight. Since I started off relatively light compared to most people who get VSG, I think my overall loss is going to be less. Which means I’ll have to work for the last 20#. One of the youtubers I follow had the same problem. UGH. I still won’t diet per se, but I’m hoping that upping the calorie burn will do the trick.

So that’s what’s going on in my world. Lots of OW OW OW. :)


International Women’s Day

In honour of this auspicious day, I offer you a judgmental rant. I am not sorry. Several things have set me off, so let’s start with the IWD stuff and then move to other issues that piss me off.

For this IWD, the Day Without a Woman movement is taking place. The idea is that women take the day off, don’t work, don’t buy anything, don’t cook, etc., and we all wear red. Now, while I agree that this is a lovely idea and I support it, I will still do the shit I need to do today. I’ve got obligations. I’ve got chores. And they will get done because I feel good today for the first time in a week, so I’ve got to carpe diem, yanno?

I’ve seen several women on FB (not MY friends, but comments on others’ posts) apologizing for not being able to take the day off, not shop, whatever. It is annoying that women feel obligated to APOLOGIZE for getting shit done just because it’s a “cause” day that asks you to not do anything. It’s just an idea! If you got shit to do, DO IT and stop apologizing. I think that the whole idea is to do what you can for the cause, but do NOT apologize for doing or NOT doing any damn thing on any damn day. RIGHT? ARGH.

Next, I’d like to slap the clueless bitches all over FB who are asking “What is all this wearing red about?”. Really? REALLY? You’re on FB every damn day and you’ve managed to miss International Women’s Day and the associated movement? You are an idiot and you need to have your woman card revoked. PAY ATTENTION for chrissakes!!

And finally, I’d like to air my feelings on women (partners of any gender) who fail at homemaking. You know the ones. The ones who “stay home with the children”, but do absolutely nothing. They claim to be busy with the children, but in reality, they sit on their asses all day playing games or riding around doing Ingress/Pokemon. They don’t clean the house, they don’t do laundry, they don’t cook, they literally do nothing. This makes me RAGEY. And YES, by the gods, I JUDGE THEM.

When I see a man complaining about all the stuff he has to do such as laundry, dry cleaning, getting shoes repaired, etc. and he’s got a woman at home, this makes me apoplectic with rage (you can change the gender on that to any configuration). WTF is wrong with someone who stays home every day and offers ZERO support for their spouse who works full time? How can you do that? How can you sit around in your own filth with laundry literally in mountains all over your house and do nothing? HOW?? It is the most selfish, mean, trifling bullshit I’ve ever heard.

I don’t care if you have 6 kids or NONE, if you are at home or work less than your partner, get OFF your lazy ass and KEEP HOUSE. My house ain’t spotless by any means, but by gods you don’t have to worry about ptomaine from my kitchen or be afraid to use the bathroom or see mountains of laundry coming out of the laundry room!! There is absolutely ZERO excuse for this! ZERO. Just because you’ve reproduced does not mean that you are no longer responsible for keeping your shit clean and straight. It’s a responsibility issue, not a time management issue.

I totally understand that some people are raised in filth and they honestly do NOT see it. Which is why it’s even sadder when they have kids, because they are raising another generation of filthy people. My grandmother and mother kept clean houses. I am naturally a clean person who likes ORDER and so does Nick. Keeping house for us is just a normal daily routine. ANYONE CAN LEARN TO DO THIS. Nick wasn’t raised in a neat clean house, but his sister in law (with whom he lived for a while) taught him to keep house. (Thanks Melinda!!) You can choose to be an adult. Try it, you might actually like it.

My brother, raised by the same clean mother that I was raised by, is a total PIG. He lives in filth with paths around all the shit in the floor. I don’t understand why it takes in some people but not in others, but I do think there is some choice involved. My brother chooses to live like a pig and takes zero responsibility for it. Part of this due to my father, who was raised in filth and does not believe in doing housework of any sort because that is the woman’s job – HELLO, 19fucking50 called and they want their bullshit back. My father never cleaned a dish, cooked a meal, washed a shirt, took out the trash or mowed the lawn. He is also a home builder and he never repaired SHIT around the house. He did absolutely nothing to keep the household running other than making money. Gee, I wonder why my mother burned out and finally said “FUCK IT!”? I saw this shit go down and I decided then that I’d NEVER put up with that kind of bullshit. You live here, you’ll do some chores, that’s IT. Same for brats: they should do household chores as soon as they are able. Teach them to clean up after themselves and it will be a lifetime habit. My mother did not do this because she has control issues. That likely contributes to my brother’s inability to adult.

A partnership is a partnership, be it marriage or whatever. This goes for all couples, no matter the gender. If you live with someone, you are obligated to help keep the place livable. YES working full time should mean that you have a far shorter list of things to do around the house, but it shouldn’t mean you do nothing. And vice versa, if you are the one staying home, then your list of household chores will be MUCH longer than the person working full time. Why is this so hard to understand? This is equitable. You don’t like it? Get a job and/or get a maid. Easy.

I absolutely do NOT take issue with doing most of the housework. I’m home, I should do it. And Nick has no issue if I ask him to clean the gnarly shower sometimes. Hell, he cleans it better than I do!! He also has no qualms about his short list of chores. It’s equitable.

So this is my Women’s Day rant. If your house is a filthy pigsty with laundry mountains, then how about you GROW A VAG and clean that shit UP? Woman up for chrissakes! This goes for DUDES who are stay at home, too. Do your part! It’s the nicest thing you can do for your partner. I know Nick appreciates the things I do. He tells me so. And don’t forget that, too: tell your partner how much you appreciate what they do. It matters.

Oh and Happy International Women’s Day. :P

Update on Exercise After VSG

I learned a valuable lesson this weekend about exercise after VSG (or any big weight loss). While I’ve been thinking that I’m doing great since I walk/jog 2 miles and can do Kathy Smith, this, apparently is not actually true.

We went to a show at The Tabernacle (Atlanta), which is an old church with multiple levels. ALL STAIRS. We were in the top level, natch, so much stair climbing ensued.

Going up the five or six flights of stairs to our seats, I noticed that my leg muscles were complaining, but I wasn’t winded or anything, so I just ignored it. Then I had to go to the bathroom, which is three floors down from our seats. Again, I noticed that my legs were complaining about going down the stairs, but what could I do? I had to pee!

THEN I had to go back UP the stairs to my seat. This is when the fun really started! My legs started actually failing – as in: no worky. I’m sure everyone thought I was drunk (I had been drinking, but was not drunk), but it was complete muscle failure. Luckily I did not fall or have to sit, but it was close. I pretty much pulled myself up with the railing. On the way out of the venue, Nick had to help me down the stairs, with LOTS of rest stops. (It never occurred to me to ask if there was an elevator. Derp. I just checked: NO. ADA is floor ONLY.)

I know it seems silly that I wouldn’t recognise muscle failure when it happened, but I don’t work out like that (until muscle failure), so I was truly puzzled by it. Once I got home, I realised what happened and started working on a new exercise plan.

Sunday and Monday I could barely walk. I really shredded what little muscle I have in my legs! I was creeping around here like a 90 year old! I did some research to refresh my memory on which exercises are best for building leg muscle (squats, lunges, extensions on the weight bench) and I will integrate them into my workouts. We’ve got an elliptical that bores me to tears (because I can’t read while doing it; something I’m going to try to fix), a weight bench and stairs, so I’ve got the tools to fix this issue. I will reclaim my body and get my muscles BACK!!

So, weight loss people: make sure to have strength training in your workouts! No wonder my legs are so slim: no muscle!!

I’m also adding back in a protein bar every day to bump back up my protein. You MUST have enough protein in your diet to support adding muscle and I know for a fact I can’t eat enough meat for that.

Just a little PSA (warning!!) to my fellow VSGers! Strength training is KEY!